Early last week, Coach Randy Edsall chalked up Matt Furstenburg and Kevin Dorsey’s meager stat lines to circumstance. Maryland’s top returning receivers had just three catches each, a manifestation of the opposition’s defensive looks and certain game situations rather than a disappearing act.
Edsall predicted that the two seniors would receive more looks moving forward. The result? Furstenburg had four catches for 65 yards on Saturday against West Virginia, his most productive outing since a five-catch, 104-yard effort against Clemson on Oct. 15, 2011. Dorsey finished with three catches for a season-high 31 yards, doubling his reception total with a performance that included receptions of 13 and 15 yards. He also was targeted three additional times.
“It just so happened that we saw some things this week, how they played certain sets, what they did, that those guys could get involved a little more, maybe than they had previously,” Edsall said. “They’re dependable guys, made some good catches and yards after the catch. The more we can spread the ball around, the better we’ll be.”
With quarterback Perry Hills turning in a career-high 305 yards against the Mountaineers, Furstenburg became the beneficiary of bubble and jailbreak screens, plays that had gotten blown up in weeks past. After West Virginia brought the house on blitzes, the tight end found himself with open-field space.
Marcus Leak (14 receptions, 231 yards, 2 TDs) and Stefon Diggs (12 catches, 259 yards, 3 TDs) are still Maryland’s biggest playmakers, but finding stability in Furstenburg and Dorsey helped Hills in his check-downs and the short-passing game. Running back Justus Pickett was reliable on third-down packages as a backfield option.
“Stefon has a chance to really make some things happen, and Marcus, when he stays focused, he’s go the ability to do some really good things,” Edsall said. “Matt and Kevin, that’s the one thing, the more we can get involved, the better we’re going to be.
“Some things will happen, Stefon makes some of those plays, some things will happen where it’ll direct more people to Stefon and open things up for those guys. It was good to have them make those catches and be as productive as they were.”